I awoke to the sound of roosters on day 2, as I did every morning in Haiti. Roosters everywhere, sounding off throughout all hours of the night constantly waking each one of us up. For the rest of my life, every time I hear a rooster call, I will be taken back to Haiti.
I grabbed my cup of coffee, Haitian coffee is AMAZING by the way, and headed to the balcony to read my daily devotional and enjoy the peace that 6AM brings.
The plan for the day was to all go to an orphanage to start off, then split up into two groups with one of the groups going to another orphanage for the rest of the day. The next day each group would switch locations so that everyone was able to visit both orphanages. This did not go as planned. We ended up all going to one orphanage and staying there all day. After breakfast, and the absolute BEST mango I have ever tasted in my life, we headed out for the day. It took us about an hour to reach our destination, and on the journey I realized that this country had little in means of infrastructure. There are hardly any buildings and what buildings they do have are typically little boxes about the size of a closet in an American home. These little boxes usually contained either a place to play the lotto, get more minutes on your phone, or buy snacks. Every other kind of commerce that seemed to go on took place on the streets, and produce being sold from baskets atop a woman’s head.
To give a little more insight about this particular orphanage; it is run by a lady from New York named Diddi Washington. Her organization is called Mission Haiti Helping Kids, and let me tell you, this lady is ON FIRE for Christ and helping the children of Haiti. Her passion and love for what she does was never once questioned in the time we spent with her. The orphanage we visited this day was her all boys home. Many of these boys she called “street boys” in that they were roaming the streets, no food, no money, no parents, and little hope.
After arriving at the orphanage we were hit with our first real encounter with the language barrier. Luckily, we had translators to help us out throughout the day. However, the language barrier was nothing compared to the challenge that Diddi was facing. Her well in which she received water had collapsed and she had hired two local young men to dig a new one. This is perhaps the most amazing feat I have ever seen first hand. A hole in the ground, perfectly round and 30+ feet deep, with a man at the bottom digging with a stick and patching the holes walls with concrete. He would send up the rocks and dirt he removed in a bucket, and his partner would then dump the bucket into the hole that once housed the well. This man didn’t just stay down in this 30 foot hole for a few minutes at a time either. He was literally down there ALL DAY. I can’t even imagine.
The Haitians LOVE soccer, and turn and run at even just the mention of American football. So being in charge of the games part of VBS, I spent most of my day playing soccer with the boys. We did teach them how to play ultimate football, a game they ended up liking even though there was some hesitation at first. I kicked the ball around, argued about who was better Messi or Cristiano, and truly enjoyed getting to know the boys better.
After lunch Luke our youth pastor shared the gospel with the help of a translator. It was a moment that I will never forget. The most memorable part of this time was when Luke was just about to start and Diddi said “no no no Hold on just one moment. I want to get these men working on the well to hear the great news too!!” So she ran and got them and gave them lunch while they sat and listened very intently to the message given. It was such a moving experience and just one example of Diddi’s passion for spreading the word and love of Christ to anyone and everyone. I truly do not know how she does it. A woman, on her own, in the poorest country in the western hemisphere, running two orphanages, both of which do not currently have water, and taking orphans off the street into her homes. Truly admirable.
We also broke out the jump ropes, drum sticks, and bubbles. By the end of the day, the boys had everyone taking penalty kicks against them. Even our host Sharon stepped up to take one. All in all, it was a tiring but rewarding day at the boys’ orphanage, and I made some connections that would grow even stronger on Day 3.